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Mike G.
Mike G., Master Electrician
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Experience:  Proven Professional 45 years Experience
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A 240-volt diagram-electrical-wiring circuit is just two 120-volt

Resolved Question:

A 240-volt diagram-electrical-wiring circuit is just two 120-volt circuits put together for that extra bit of umph! Ovens, water heaters, clothes dryers, and HVAC(heating, venting, and air-conditioning)systems need a little extra voltage, so we give them two hot lines instead of one.

The problem is that I have a generator that has 8 120 volt outlets and need to power a 240 volt water pump. If what I copied above is true I can take and plug a cord into two outlets and provide power to the pump by connecting the hot from each cord to the pump. However what do I do with the ground and white. This is a temporary hook up to provide water.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Mike G. replied 3 years ago.
Hi, I'm Mike and I'll be glad to assist you. Not like what you're thinking. Yes the idividual hots are 120 to ground but they are 240V to each other. Your generator need to have a 240V plug on it or it is just a 120V generator.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The well pump is currently wired into the box, the generator has 4 120 volt plugs and one 4 prong plug for 240. The problem is how to get electricty to the well pump with the current set up of the generator. If it was a stove, whatever with a appropriate plug we could plug it into the generator. We can remove the wire from the panel. We need to get one hot wire to each of the wires. Is there a plug that the existing wire going to the well pump can be wire to then plugged into the 4 prong generator receptacle.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
The well pump is currently wired into the box, the generator has 4 120 volt plugs and one 4 prong plug for 240. The problem is how to get electricty to the well pump with the current set up of the generator. If it was a stove, whatever with a appropriate plug we could plug it into the generator. We can remove the wire from the panel. We need to get one hot wire to each of the wires. Is there a plug that the existing wire going to the well pump can be wire to then plugged into the 4 prong generator receptacle.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 3 years ago.
This is the first that you said there was a 240V receptacle.

That makes a big difference. For a temp connection to the well do the following
  1. put a plug to match the receptacle on a 12/2 NM cable - don't connect the neutral. 2 hots and a ground only.
  2. Open the panel and wire the 2 hots to the circuit to the pump wwith the wires off the breaker.
  3. Connect the ground to the neutral bar in the panel.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

It being the aftermat of the hurracane, I can not find a 4 prong plug. There are two 120 volt receptacle open can one use the hot from the two receptacle combine the grounds and tie to the netural bar and don't connect the neutrals.

Expert:  Mike G. replied 3 years ago.
I understand your situation and shouldn't say that you can because of the possibility of an accident. Let me put it this way I wouldn't be supprised if the use of 2 plugs with only the hots connected would give you 240V and that would depend on the generator wiring. It may or may not work. A test between the hots of the 120V receptacles would say if it were possible.
Mike G., Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 5643
Experience: Proven Professional 45 years Experience
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